Walking Dot Photography Giveaway!

I don’t normally post on Saturdays, because its my weekend and I like my weekends. I do a lot of blog work on the weekends, but usually stick to just that. BUT I’m making a super exception! I’ve teamed up with Giedre of Walking Dot Photography  to get the word out about her SUPER AWESOME giveaway!!!

One of the goals I’ve talked about frequently on the blog (for the blog) is me improving my photography and incorporating some outfit posts! I’ve been working on my own phtoography (especially with food!) and hopefully will be getting a sweet camera for Christmas that will help. And Giedre is going to help me with an outfit post! Which will hopefully get me over my fear of doing it for myself. Its really quite funny to me that I have such an issue with taking photos of myself, considering I modeled for many years…but anywho!!

Giedre is a great photographer. Her photos are vibrant, and fun! She has a really great for light and color! She specializes in Family, Maternity, Senior and Engagement photos and does an really amazing job at capturing the joy and love in all her photos! If me and my boyfriend were going to do the whole she-bang in Chicago I’d definitely want to hire her! She’s awesome and super nice too!

So when I saw that she was running a giveaway for Chicagoland folks I was like SIGN ME UP! Even if I didn’t do some outfit photos, having some great headshots for promotional materials would be a fantastic addition to the blog!

But of course as much as I want to win…I want you to win too! So please head on over to Giedre’s blog and enter her giveaway if you’re in the Chicagoland area (Or maybe you’re in the midwest and are planning a little trip to Chicago??) Who wouldn’t love some beautiful photos of your family or of yourself!

Go HERE to enter!

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The Lazy Girl’s (or Guy’s) Last Minute Drugstore Gift Guide

I was not going to do a gift guide, other than this DIY Guift Guide I did a few weeks back, but then I realized that there were still a few gifts that I needed to get, mostly for my Dad and brother-in-laws and of course the white elephant gift I had to get for the office. My Dad and Bro-in-laws didn’t get gifts from Walgreens, although I was super tempted to be lazy. Luckily there’s a TJMaxx within walking distance. Score!

But then I got to thinking, how many people don’t have much around them, maybe have zero time and need to pick up a quick gift at say Walgreens or CVS?

So I didn’t go too crazy on the gift guides, but I’m a BIG supporter of doing cool and unique gifts. Last year for my friends I went to the travel section of the beauty department at Target and loaded up some cosmetic bags with goodies; everything from lipgloss to facewipes. I love unique gifts like that.

Gift Guide, Gift Guide for Her

So for the ladies doing little choose yourself gift sets is an awesome idea.

  • If you know someone who loves to soak in the tub try putting together a little basket of spa products: bubble bath, a bath brush, a shower cap, epsom salts, toss in some candles and a bottle of wine? Sounds like a pretty great evening to me!
  • I dont get my nails done very often at a salon (remember last week how I talked about cutting out luxury expenses? Manicures are one of them) Toss together a complete kit with nailpolish, cuticle cutters, buffers, polish remover and drying spray!
  • Cosmetic Sets. I don’t know if you’ve been to some of the fancier Walgreen’s lately, but those places have a full out beauty department complete with beauty consultants on staff! The brands they carry aren’t your normal drugstore brands anymore. Put together a “look” with makeup! Smokey eyeshadows, mascara, a great lip color and of course…if they have the acrylic cosmetic organizers, snap it up! They’re awesome! Gift Guide, Gift Guide for Him

For the guys it can be a little more challenging at the drugstores…but not impossible!

  • Walgreens carries nice cologne. So you don’t need to head over to Macy’s or Saks to pick up a nice cologne. Its the same price (sometimes cheaper if its on sale!).
  • Men need skin care too! Product specifically formulated for men’s skin is important and their skin typically isn’t as delicate as women’s. Boots and Dove carry skin care products just for men!
  • Hit up the electronics department! They have some smaller items that just might be perfect for that guy who seems to have everything. From an alarm clock with an iPhone dock or for portable bluetooth speakers (perfect for the office yeah!?) Or maybe he needs to stock up on SD cards for his camera!
  • An electric razor is an old standby gift for the guys, Walgreens should definitely have something within your price range!

I also totally recommend hitting up the “As Seen On TV” section of Walgreens. Those gifts are totally cheesey…but were the hottest items at our White Elephant party!

You don’t have to brave the department stores to find gifts or if you’re short on time, it might be worth a trip to your local drug store to see what you can put together!  Also if you haven’t tried it, give the ship to store a shot. Its totally convienent. Websites like Walgreens, Walmart, Home Depot all have ship to store, its sooo easy!

 

**This post was not sponsored by Walgreens or CVS…I just live next to a Walgreens…**

December Goals and Plans

December is one of those challenging budget months because of Christmas. Although I’m planning on making Christmas gifts for family and friends, which will save me quite a bit, it still is an extra expense in my budget. I’ve already brainstormed some ideas for what I’m going to make as gifts so I’ve got a cost and budget in mind (I already spent $75!) . I decided to add Christmas as an additional budget for the month of December but still try to cut back on my regular budgets (restaurants/shopping/groceries). But for everything else, I think I’ve done great so far and am excited for my upcoming plans!

Shopping Goals/Plans

I took a gander at my Fall Shopping List back in the end of September to see where abouts I was in knocking items off the list. I gotta say I did pretty swell!

Boots

Maje, Tan Bootie, Fringe, Fall boot, Ankle Boot

I ended up getting four pairs of boots.Two brown pair at the Gilt Warehouse Sale and two black pairs this month–one short pair from Target, and a similar style boot to the ones I wanted from American Eagle at DSW for about $54, which was way cheaper than American Eagle! I still am debating on whether or not I want to get new snow boots. It hasn’t started snowing in Chicago like it has everywhere else in the Midwest, so I’m a little hesitant to buy. I have my pair from last year but they are definitely on their last leg of the race and in all reality I could use a new pair.  At the same time, I’m constantly thinking in the back of my mind that I need to save space (and weight) in my suitcases next fall. If I were to take all the boots I have now, I’d be lugging 5 pairs (two rain boots, one pair of uggs and two fall boots) not to mention all the other shoes/boots I have. I do plan on getting rid of some (Uggs, one pair of rain boots and some of the less expensive shoes/booties I have) but I really could fill an entire suitcase of just shoes…

The shoes I had on my list (nude strappy and black wedge) I didn’t get either. It’s too cold for the strappy heels and I’m still looking for a black wedge. My boot shopping came first before the wedges. I still would love a pair of the monk oxfords but I may just pass since I scored on the booties. Since I haven’t been wearing heels lately I also haven’t been looking for a leopard print pair. Although I’m hoping to start wearing them again since I’m going to be converting to snow boots soon and will have to bring a change of shoes regardless…

Jackets/Blazers/Vest

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I didn’t get a beige trench coat. And I’ll likely skip it. I also didn’t get a camel colored blazer, or a white one for that matter. I did end up getting a dressier wrap jacket for those not quite cold enough days for my North Face. I still am debating on the vest from JCrew Factory. I really like it, but the more I think about it…do I want to be a blogger clone? Lots of girls have them and I feel like my instagram is filled with the same outfit on different girls.

Scarves

I got both the Toms poncho and a shawl from Target. Not in the plaid that everyone has, which is what I thought about at first, but then I started getting the blogger clone feeling again.  I also ended up getting a cute headband for when I wear my  hair up to keep my ears warm and some warm black mittens. I love the headband but I think I may need a thicker one!

Tops

I always struggle with tops. I always seem to buy a lot of tanks to go under blazers or sweaters and then never wear them. I went a little sweater crazy at H&M this past month they had a really great sale and I ended up getting like 6 sweaters for like $80.  When I’m looking for button down shirts or even just basic tees the sleeves are never long enough in the sleeves, thanks to my orangutan arms. Or they will be long enough in the store and when I wash them they shrink. I still would love to find a cute plaid shirt but am expecting to run into sleeve troubles.

So with the exception of the snow boots and maybe a few more long sleeve shirts, and possibly a dress for NYE there’s really not a whole lot I need to add to my wardrobe. I’m going to go through my closet once more this month and sort through again to see if there’s anything that needs to be cycled out. I have a whole collection of stuff on Poshmark but haven’t gotten any sales. Not needing anything this month means I can put it towards my credit card or towards Christmas gifts! BUUTTT even better, I won a $100 gift card to the Shops at 900 on Michigan Ave. So lucky me, I can re-direct my shopping budget primarily to christmas shopping and use my gift card instead!

Blog Goals

I’m patiently waiting for my sister to finish up the new design of the blog! I’m really excited to get it out there and be self hosted! I can finally start doing sponsorships, buying ads and really try to monetize the blog a little. I’d love to be generating some income (even if its like $20 a month!) from the blog by the time I’m in London.

My biggest blog goal is to really improve my photography. I’ve been working hard on it lately and want to get more stock photography to use for posts like this or other ones that don’t have specific photography.

Check out my first photos…and my most recent! Talk about a difference!

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Before!

After!

After!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My second largest blog goal is to do a outfit post. I’ve reaaaalllly held off on it. Not because I don’t want to put them on the blog (I do!) I’m totally petrified! I’m way nervous to go outside and photograph myself, by myself. I find a lot of really good excuses not to do outfit posts! Want my list? I don’t have a good camera, I love my clothes but my style is kinda boring work clothes, I’m slack-a-lacking on the accessories department, If I take photos indoors I have no light or a good location in my apartment to take photos, I’m going to look totally stupid taking photos of myself.  Everytime I think I should really do an outfit post I usually come up with one of these excuses. Especially the I’m going to look stupid one, I really hate taking selfies and get totally self concious. And the I don’t have a good camera one too, that one will hopefully not be a valid excuse after Christmas.

I’m still building my social media through Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest. Slowly but surely its growing. And I’m hoping to really build it up throughout the next few months! I’ve gotten tons of advice from some Facebook groups which have been super helpful! I’m hoping to join some more linky parties in the next month or two. It’s a lot of work, social media, but I’ve noticed a big difference already. I may start adding more than one recipe a week and will definitely get back into some more sexual health posts as well.

Money Goals

Trying to cut back on my spending even more is goal number one. I’m also hoping to put aside even more into my savings account each month. Right now I auto-transfer $300 to my savings. I want to up it to $500. But for me to realistically do that, I need to generate extra income from somewhere. I’ve done direct sales in the past and have no desire to do that again.  I’ve considered getting a hostessing job one or two days a week to give my wallet a little boost. But really I’d love to do something that I can really do from home. I’d love to make something to sell but I’m just not sure what yet! Got some ideas for me?!

After the holidays I intend on selling my car. It needs a few repairs but once I get my taxes done, Its getting listed. Between my tax returns and selling my car, I should be more than able to meet my goal for my student visa requirements.

I really want to pay off my credit card quickly. I’ve been going back and forth about what to do with my credit card. Pay it off in full and then take my normal monthly payment and put it in my savings. Or continue on my split savings/credit card, like I’ve done the last 4-5 months. I ultimately don’t want to have a credit card balance or I want to pay it off in full every month.

Health/Home Goals

I’m still failing on my waking up and doing Yoga every morning. I still want to, but I have such a hard time waking up when its dark out. I’d still love to loose 10lbs, but I’ve been hoovering around the same weight for weeks now. I know exercise is the only answer…I’m just so lazy.

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Lily

bunni

Bunni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also really need to get in the habit of walking the dogs more. It’s really easy when you have small dogs that are pad trained, to not go outside when its cold. Especially with Bunni, she’s a big baby and doesn’t want to walk when its cold out. I mean, look at her little face, how could you not want to pick her up! When I am in London I would love to have them on a good schedule and use the pads less than I do now. I think walking the dogs more will also help me get those last few lbs I want off.

Bringing a healthier lunch to work. I’m still struggling to not go to lunch all the time. Or I just bring left over pasta for lunch. Which all though makes a great lunch and easy to make in bulk, I really need to boost up my lunch game. And bring in a wider variety of items. I’ve said before meal planning doesn’t work very well for me. But I am finding that I really enjoy doing recipe posts and I plan those out, and usually I make enough to last a few days. So I may just plan more recipe posts and kinda go along with the meal planning thing to see how it goes. I also really found it convenient to have the breakfast burritos for mornings. So I have to do some more batches of those.

I need to get in a better cleaning routine. There are days that I just look at my apartment and I’m like…W.T.F its easy to slack off when it’s just  you. Like my bathroom…I wouldn’t even want you to pee in there, it’s so nasty. I need to get in the habit of washing my dishes right after I use them, cleaning the bathroom regularly and tidying up on the daily. A cleaner space definitely makes for a less stressful home.

I also want to do some more purging. Movies, books, random crap I don’t even look at. Why do I keep shit I don’t use? Beats me…must be the pack-rat side of me (or more like my mom’s side). But I totally love purging for some reason, getting rid of the old is like this refreshing feeling.

Boy oh boy! I’ve got some big plans! But hopefully a lot of these things, with a little hard work and dedication will easily be accomplished!

What are your goals for December?